So I haven't blogged in a while - I've been busy finishing up my internship and getting ready to head back to Bloomington. But I thought I'd go ahead and post my final internship journal entry, covering Allen County Public Library's big Potter Party last Friday. I wrote this entry this past Saturday afternoon, right after the party:

It’s OVER! I feel exhausted, relieved…and kind of depressed, too, kind of like that post-Christmas letdown feeling. It’s sad to know that it’s all over – but what an event it was! Last night, the library was completely transformed into Diagon Alley and Hogwarts, and absolutely swarming with witches, wizards, trolls, house-elves, owls, and various other magical creatures. It was impossible to get an exact count of the number of people who came, but from what I heard, we’re estimating that several thousand walked through our doors last night, and I definitely believe it – that place was hopping.

I showed up about three hours before the party started to help with last-minute setting up. Our wand shop was set up at the General Reference desk, and we had fun transforming it. We had cardboard sheets made to look like stone castle walls that we put up around the computers and other modern equipment, covered the whole desk in floaty, sparkly purple fabric, and displayed our wands everywhere. It looked pretty nice when we were all done, especially with the lights dimmed.

We were located right next to Honeyduke’s Sweet Shoppe and the “Restricted Section” – a maze that was set up in the Reader’s Services stacks. Across from us was the fortune-telling tent and the “Room of Requirement” – a general resting area for people who got worn out from partying. There was also a “Wizarding Wear” shop with Harry Potter t-shirts to buy, a “Hattery” with various kooky-looking witch and wizard hats on display, along with its main attraction, the Sorting Hat. Next to the hattery, we had a local independent bookstore on hand to sell copies of the book at “Flourish and Blott’s Booksellers”. We also had several craft stations, where you could make a Weasley clock, design owl post letters, and paint Harry Potter-related stained glass, a Wizarding Duel room where people could test their Harry Potter trivia knowledge, a couple of photo ops with the Hogwarts Head Table (and Dumbledore) and the flying Ford Anglia, and a Potions class. Upstairs, we had the Astronomy Tower, with Science Central setting up their SkyLab dome. And finally, outside we had a performance by the “wizarding” band Ballroom Roustabouts, Quaffle practice hoops, and an Acromantula web for kids to climb on. Whew! It was incredible, the amount of time, effort, and organization (also money) that went into this one night.

From the moment the doors were opened, we were swarmed at Ollivander’s Wands. It was a lot of fun working there, though, because we got to act all mystical and choose wands for each patron. We’d made the wands to match each House color from the books, and while some people had very definite ideas or wanted a wand to match the House they’d been “Sorted” into by our Sorting Hat, we could play with it some. I took particular delight in insisting that the most ornery-looking kids were “obviously Slytherins”! Speaking of which, my coworker Kirsten and I took a break to go get Sorted ourselves, and yep – we both ended up in Slytherin. Muahahaha!

At one point we were so busy that our line was starting to get tangled with the line for the Restricted Section maze, so I got sent out to keep things straight and sort of be a crier attracting people to our shop. It was fun milling with the crowd and exclaiming over everyone’s costumes, but I almost completely lost my voice within an hour. I’m still pretty hoarse today. We did have some great costumes. First there were the library staff members who were playing various witches and wizards from the book. We had Dumbledore, McGonagall, Gilderoy Lockhart, Hagrid, Snape, Mad-Eye Moody, Moaning Myrtle, and, of course, Harry Potter. Their costumes were all incredible, and they did a great job of staying in character while posing for pictures and signing autographs – our Snape was so good that he was actually upsetting a few younger children and had to be told to tone it down a bit.

Other great costumes I spotted: Several good Luna Lovegoods and Professor Trelawneys, a hideously perfect Professor Umbridge, several babies dressed as owls and house-elves, lots of Rons and Harrys and Hermiones, and one very creative girl who dressed as the Fat Lady portrait from Gryffindor’s entrance.

Towards the end of the evening we did a “crystal ball drop” from the second floor into the Great Hall, which consisted of thousands of little silver balloons, each with a fortune inside. The noise was incredible, as everyone ran around stomping balloons to get their fortunes. Shortly after that we held our drawing to see who was going to be able to check out one of our 250 copies of the book. After that, it was just a matter of counting down the time until midnight. I had already reserved a copy for myself over at the booksellers, so I was able to watch the frenzy as everyone rushed to get their own copies. I noticed several people who started reading almost immediately – and not a few who turned straight to the back of the book to find out the end. Cheaters!

After midnight, when everyone got their books, the party died down pretty quickly. I stuck around for another hour or so to help get the clean-up started, but Mari sent me home a little earlier than some, since I’m not actually getting paid for any of this! Believe it or not, I didn’t start reading the book myself last night – I was exhausted, so I went straight to bed. I haven’t started it yet, in fact. I think as soon as I finish this journal entry I’m going to get going on it. I’ll try to do one more journal entry a bit later, to sum up my feelings about the internship as a whole. For now – I’ve got reading to do!

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